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The Littlest Hobo raises the bar by parachuting a dog into a forest fire in the very first episode




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The smallest hobo raises the bar by parachuting a dog into a forest fire in the very first episode
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The uneaten cubs head to the local vet, while the ranger and Smoke go up against a local shopkeeper who advises the townspeople to set traps and poison the forest’s now homeless wild animals, who come to town on look for food. This villain gets an instant beep on the Littlest Hobo’s bastard radar, especially when the bobcat mother is injured in one of his vicious traps. Bay even left a poisoned pile of hamburger meat in a bowl outside his store. The Littlest Hobo detects the poison and tilts the bowl in disgust, but that doesn’t stop toddler Davy from waddling over to the pile of poisonous raw meat and digging in it. Not for the last time, the Littlest Hobo proves that he is smarter and more valuable than a human child.

Now little Davy is in bad shape and because the bushfire has burned down the bridge to the city, the doctor can’t get there to deliver the antidote. The hero warden takes Davy to the local vet – also his girlfriend – for the deworming tablets she can administer in the meantime, boards his plane and picks up the doctor from a nearby airstrip. Not only does he get on the plane, but he takes Smoke, the dog he just met, because he and this dog are now in this thing and not asking questions. A storm has broken out in the sky, preventing the plane with the ranger, the doctor and the dog from landing. What must we do?

The ranger knows what to do: put the doctor in control of the plane and let the antidote fly into the city itself. Only the doctor can’t fly a plane! They need a new plan. Unfortunately, the Littlest Hobo’s talents don’t extend to aviation, although you’d have to bet that if there were no other option, he would have at least given it a good shot.

Luckily, upon hearing the word “parachute,” the Littlest Hobo rushes to the back of the plane and begins sniffing the parachute gear. “We have a volunteer,” says the ranger, with alarming confidence, and puts the dog in the parachute, tying the antidote around his neck. “Why does it feel like you’ve done this before?” the ranger asks the Littlest Hobo, who looks back with a “Cool it with the Questions, man. Am I jumping out of this plane or something?’ expression on his face. Then the Littlest Hobo jumps out of the plane.

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Jump to 16:00 for the parachute jump

At this point in the story, let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at episode director Allan Eastman. In 2015, Eastman told VICE’s “An Oral History of The Littlest Hobo, Canada’s Greatest TV Show” that he spoke with dog trainer Chuck P. Eisenmann “at length about whether we should actually be skydiving the dog.” The director was confident in the dog’s stunting ability and a helicopter, which is all he needed. They decided to try it out first.

“We made a very realistic German Shepherd doll that we put in the parachute and threw it out of a plane. I had three cameras on the ground to capture the parachute jump and of course they threw the dummy out of the plane from about 2,000 feet and of course the parachute never opened. It just came right down 2,000 feet and made a three-foot hole in the ground. I was glad I didn’t insist on using the dog for that.”

So is the dog. The stunt was accomplished using a dummy for the wide shot and hanging the real German Shepherd in the parachute just above the ground for the close-ups. It’s done seamlessly.

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